Not all carbohydrates are created alike. Some are very healthful, like fruits, vegetables, beans and unprocessed grain products, whereas processed grain products (white bread, white rice and most prepared breakfast cereals) are virtually indistinguishable from table sugar in nutritional quality.
--David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director, Optimal Weight for Life program
A healthful diet is a cornerstone to raising a healthy child. But with so much conflicting information in the news and on the Internet, you may have questions when it comes to how to feed your child the most nutritious and appropriate food.
Here are some general guidelines for making healthful food choices:
- Eat balanced meals, including lean sources of protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and “good” fats.
- When cooking for your child, try to bake, broil or use a healthful fat when frying.
- Decrease your child's sugar intake.
- Encourage your child to eat fruit or vegetables for snacks.
- For children over 5 years old, use low-fat dairy products.
- Decrease the use of butter and heavy gravies.
- Substitute chicken or fish for red meat.
- Limit processed foods.
- Read ingredient lists. In particular, look for the many different types of sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, honey, molasses and others.
How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches healthful diets
At Children’s, registered dietitians in Clinical Nutrition Services can guide you in making healthful food choices, whether you’re looking to address your child’s particular medical condition, manage his weight or optimize his overall well-being.
If your child has a problem with his weight, Children’s has two hospital-based programs that can help:
- Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) program: As the largest pediatric weight management clinic in New England, we treat overweight children between the ages of 2 and 20. Our program doesn’t focus on calorie counting or fad diets. Instead, our team of doctors, registered dietitians and behaviorists teach children and teens how to enjoy whole foods in appropriate portions. We emphasize lifestyle patterns that help children to reach a healthy body weight over time.
- One Step Ahead program: Focused on prevention and management, OSA treats 3-13 year-olds. The program is part of Children’s Hospital Primary Care Center (CHPCC).
|Center for Young Women’s Health and Center for Young Men’s Health|
|Why are my friendships changing? How can I convince my parents that being a vegetarian is heathy and right for me? What types of birth control are available to me, and how do I use them? Young men and young women may have some concerns specific to their gender, and some that they share. At Children’s, the Center for Young Women’s Health and Center for Young Men’s Health offer the latest general and gender-specific information about issues including fitness and nutrition, sexuality and health, health and development and emotional health.|
Reviewed by David Ludwig, MD, PhD
© Children’s Hospital Boston, 2010